Pouflons of a Feather | Maia
When Vionnet had put out a request for a study group at Asterfall, Maia had been dubious. Not only was she only sometimes at the prestigious school, but she also wasn't very good at the studying...thing. She was very much a proponent of learning by doing, and the thought of spending hours going over notes and looking for examples, precedents, and instructions in textbooks was not something she was particularly interested in. Still, she was always eager to help other pouflons, so she made a visit to Vale, who also hated studying, but for a different reason. Surely someone who could memorize lines and stage directions would have ideas on how to make studying more interesting.
"Vale?" she called, knocking on his door in the Asterfall dorms. She wasn't sure if he would be in, considering that they were practicing for a new play at his theater, but with exams coming up his family was probably pressuring him to make sure he was studying to do well.
He answered the door within a minute, looking stressed and downcast as he blinked at her. "Hello, Maia," he said with some surprise. "I didn't know you were here."
"I got in yesterday," she explained with the casual dismissal of someone who was in and out of Asterfall - and indeed, any other city - frequently. "I was wondering if you could help Vionnet study for her elemental theories class. I've taken an introductory course at Riddlelock, but I'm not good at theory."
Vale hesitated. "I'm not sure I'll be much help..." he hedged. He was good at magic, yes, but he was good in the way that didn't require rigorous study. He was never as passionate about his magic studies the way that other mages-in-training were, and his studying habits reflected that. Still...
"You're better than me at this stuff," Maia pointed out. "And maybe you can illustrate some of the finer points? I don't know how to explain them; I haven't gotten that far yet. I'll make you cookies," she wheedled, smiling broadly.
Vale had to laugh. Maia's cookies were very tempting. "All right, I'll try," he agreed, hoping that he would be able to help.
When Vale and Maia arrived in the library together, Vionnet was already there, slumped over a thick book and taking a nap. A dirty plate and a giant mug of (now cold) tea sat on the table next to her, and several discarded candle stubs indicated that she had been there for several hours.
"Vionnet?" Maia called, nudging the sleeping mage, who awoke with a start.
"Wha?" She blinked, trying to clear her eyes, and squinted at them. "Oh! Hello, Maia." She eyed Vale uncertainly, recognizing him from classes and passing him in the halls, as well as his family's reputation, but she had never formally met him.
"Vionnet, this is Vale," she said, urging Vale to come closer with a jerk of her head. "He's much better at studying than I am."
Vionnet perked up at this, smiling in relief. "You've come to help me study?"
"I'll do my best," Vale answered honestly, smiling a little nervously. He really hoped that he wouldn't disappoint them. "What are you studying right now?"
Vale and Maia found seats around the table as Vionnet complained about her elemental theories class, gesturing at the candle. "I'm supposed to figure out how to do something other than lighting a candle, but I have to explain the theory behind it! And what in the Dawn Garden is Remiel's Principle of Magical Resonance?"
Tilting his head, Vale considered the problem, while Maia frowned and wondered if finding Remiel might help. But Remiel was always so very busy, she hated to bother them for this when surely the three of them could figure it out. Slowly, Vale laid out his understanding of the principle, and then how he had applied it to elemental theory when he'd taken the course previously. It wasn't the best explanation, but when Maia asked a question, Vionnet made a connection, and Vale confirmed it, having used it in practice without realizing the technical terms for it. Excitedly, Vionnet began flipping through her messy notes, looking for an example her professor had used in class.
"Yes, yes, that's it!" she cried triumphantly. "The spell for lighting a candle should bolster a breeze spell due to the effect of heat on air movement - " She broke off, setting up a candle before her and preparing to experiment right then and there.
"Not in the library!" Maia cried in alarm. A group of pouflons nearby raised their heads from their books to glare at her, and she smiled sheepishly. "Sorry!" she said to them, before turning back to Vale. "Maybe you should try that in the laboratory, not here. You don't want to set something on fire!"
Vionnet sighed, realizing that Maia was right. "I don't want to leave yet, though. I'm finally getting somewhere! Thanks for your help, Vale."
"Thank Maia," he answered, always ready to give credit where it was due. "She's the one who asked me to come."
They continued plowing through the exam topics Vionnet's professor had given to her, stopping only when Vale noticed the time with some alarm. "I need to get to rehearsal!" he exclaimed, jumping up from the table.
"It's getting late," Maia agreed. "Maybe we should meet again tomorrow?"
"That sounds like a good idea," Vionnet agreed. "If you can make it?" she added, looking at Vale hopefully.
He hesitated, clearly itching to just rush out of the library that instant. "I'll see what I can do. I have a lot of classes tomorrow, and then rehearsal right after."
As he left, Vionnet turned to Maia. "Rehearsal for what? Is he in the orchestra?"
Maia shook her head, unsure if Vale wanted her to tell Vionnet about his passion for theater. Well, the pippet was out of the bag, since he'd mentioned rehearsal himself. "He's performing in a play, and they're rehearsing every night."
Vionnet looked somewhat nonplussed. "He has time for that?"
"He makes time," Maia said firmly. "He's a lot better at time management than we are."
Vionnet scrunched up her nose. "That's not hard," she lamented as her stomach growled. Loudly. "Do you want to come get dinner at the cafeteria?"
"Sure," Maia agreed. Together, they packed up Vionnet's books and notes, cleared the table of crumbs, napkins, scrap paper, and candle stubs, and left the library, making their way towards the Asterfall school cafeteria for dinner, chatting about the latest fashions emerging from Roseacre. After the afternoon they'd just had, there was no more talk of school or studying!
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